|Bears Free Agent Options: Tight End|
Martellus Bennett (Jim McIsaac/Getty)
We roll along with our Chicago Bears free agency series, this time evaluating the top available talent at tight end to potentially find an upgrade over Kellen Davis, who was ineffective last season.
Let's not beat around the bush: Kellen Davis is not a reliable pass-catching tight end. As a member of the Chicago Bears the last five seasons, Davis has caught a total of 47 passes for 529 yards. To give you an idea of how bad that is, in just the second half of the season last year, Jason Witten of the Dallas Cowboys caught 52 passes for 501 yards.
The Bears re-signed Davis to a two-year deal last offseason with the hope that, with Mike Martz and his don't-throw-to-the-tight-ends offense gone, Davis could finally have his breakout campaign. Instead, he caught just 19 passes for 229 yards and 2 TDs. And according to Pro Football Focus (PFF), he dropped nearly 30 percent of the passes thrown his way.
Folks, that's downright ridiculous.
It would be shocking if new head coach Marc Trestman re-inserts Davis as the primary receiving tight end next year. In fact, it would be surprising if he's even on the team come training camp.
With Matt Spaeth more of a blocker and Evan Rodriguez converted to fullback, there is no other realistic option at tight end on Chicago's current roster. As such, GM Phil Emery is going to have to scour free agency to find a suitable upgrade. Let's break down his options (unrestricted free agents only).
Brandon Myers (6-3, 256), Oakland Raiders, Age: 27
Martellus Bennett (6-6, 265), N.Y. Giants, Age: 26
After spending four years backing up Witten in Dallas, Bennett signed a one-year deal with the Giants last season. He finished 2012 with 55 catches for 626 yards and 5 TDs. He's a solid pass-catching option and a very good blocker as well. He's the most well-rounded tight end in this free agent class. Unfortunately for the Bears, Bennett recently said he wants to retire in New York and may take a pay cut to stay in the Big Apple. Still, for a 26-year-old about to enter his prime, a fat contract could lure him into Chicago, where he'd instantly become a weapon down the middle of Soldier Field.
Anthony Fasano (6-4, 255), Miami Dolphins, Age: 28
Fred Davis (6-4, 247), Washington Redskins, Age: 27
Dustin Keller (6-2, 250), N.Y. Jets, Age: 28
Jared Cook (6-5, 248), Tennessee Titans, Age: 26
Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Follow Bear Report on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Bear Report Web site or magazine, click here.